22-Aug (U.S. Treasury Department) — Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew today urged Congress again to honor its previous spending commitments by raising the statutory debt limit. In remarks to the Commonwealth Club of California, Secretary Lew discussed the need for Congress to act as soon as possible to avoid jeopardizing the full faith and credit of the United States and to avoid the economically harmful consequences of a U.S. default or threat of default. He also cautioned that tax revenues and expenditures are inherently unpredictable, making it impossible for Treasury to predict with precision when the government will exhaust extraordinary measures.
“It is important to note that the debt limit has nothing to do with new spending. It has to do with spending that Congress has already approved and bills that have already been incurred. Failing to raise the debt limit would not make these bills go away. It would, though, have disastrous effects for our nation,” Secretary Lew said in prepared remarks. “We cannot afford for Congress to wait until some unknowable last minute to resolve this matter on the eve of a deadline. We cannot afford another unnecessary self-inflicted wound.”